Kevin Smith’s Krampus movie is now a non-Christmas-related horror anthology

Kevin Smith has announced that he’s retooling his Christmas horror comedy Comes The Krampus, after the film became a victim of the infamous Krampus movie rush of Winter 2015. Refusing to be cowed, Smith has stripped out the film’s Christmas elements, repurposed its monster, and now announced that the movie has become a horror anthology flick, titled KillRoy Was Here.

The anthology’s name comes from the famous “Kilroy Was Here” graffiti that became popular in America circa World War II. (Apparently, the film’s long-nosed monster resembles the cute little guy.) Smith has cast the film as a kind of gory morality play, noting that, “No one wants to see you spill the blood of innocents, but when someone crosses the line and goes bad, you get to make them pay in horrible ways, and the audience cheers.”

Smith’s last two films, Tusk and Yoga Hosers, were both incredibly messy efforts, albeit ones occasionally livened up with utterly bizarre ideas and visuals. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the shift to a more vignette-based filmmaking style will suit Smith’s current cinematic attention span, allowing him to cram more gross-out spectacle and strange ideas into Killroywithout so much of the meandering padding (or, god help us, Johnny Depp cameos) that diluted his most recent work.

Now, an Algorithm to Teach Robots How to Behave Like a Human in Certain Situations

Scientists have developed a new machine-learning algorithm to help robots display appropriate social behaviour in interactions with humans.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are making virtual and robotic assistants increasingly capable in performing complex tasks, researchers said.

For these “smart” machines to be considered safe and trustworthy collaborators with human partners, however, robots must be able to quickly assess a given situation and apply human social norms, they said.

Now, researchers at Brown University and Tufts University in the US have created a cognitive-computational model of human norms in a representation that can be coded into machines.

They developed a machine-learning algorithm that allows machines to learn norms in unfamiliar situations drawing on human data.

The project funded by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) represents important progress towards the development of AI systems that can “intuit” how to behave in certain situations in much the way people do.

Now, an Algorithm to Teach Robots How to Behave Like a Human in Certain Situations

“The goal of this research effort was to understand and formalise human normative systems and how they guide human behaviour, so that we can set guidelines for how to design next-generation AI machines that are able to help and interact effectively with humans,” said Reza Ghanadan, DARPA programme manager.
As an example in which humans intuitively apply social norms of behaviour, consider a situation in which a cell phone rings in a quiet library, researchers said.

A person receiving that call would quickly try to silence the distracting phone, and whisper into the phone before going outside to continue the call in a normal voice.

Today, an AI phone-answering system would not automatically respond with that kind of social sensitivity. “We do not currently know how to incorporate meaningful norm processing into effective computational architectures,” Ghanadan said, adding that social and ethical norms have a number of properties that make them uniquely challenging.

Ultimately, for a robot to become social or perhaps even ethical, it will need to have a capacity to learn, represent, activate, and apply a large number of norms that people in a given society expect one another to obey, Ghanadan said.

That task will prove far more complicated than teaching AI systems rules for simpler tasks such as tagging pictures, detecting spam, or guiding people through their tax returns.

However, by providing a framework for developing and testing such complex algorithms, the new

Plex App for Android Will Now Let You Play Files Stored on Your Phone

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Latest Plex update will play mostly any video file on Android
  • You won’t need a third party app to play videos
  • App will fetch metadata for your media file

Popular media server Plex has just brought a major update to its app for Android. You can now open and play pretty much any video file stored on your Android device or SD card, and you no longer have to play it through a third-party player. The company says that with this update, you will no longer face the problem of opening video files stored locally.

Plex App for Android Will Now Let You Play Files Stored on Your Phone

The latest update for Android will now let you play local video files including .MP4s, .MKVs, .AVIs, .WMVs, and .WMDs, among other formats, within the app. The Plex app for Android already lets you scheduled live TV recordings, offering a DVR-like function, and with this new update, the app has a stronger case to take on apps like VLC.

The ability to open practically any video format will come in handy as users may sometimes find themselves downloading files from torrent sites that can be difficult to play on mobile. In addition to locally stored files, the latest update also lets you open files stored in third-party apps like Dropbox. You can also open video files from the Web browser, Downloads app, or a file explorer app.plex android update playback plex

Notably, the Plex app will also automatically fetch metadata for your media file. If the file is recognised, the title, artwork will show. It is able to do this by matching the videos based on the filename and other details. But sometimes there could be an error in getting the right details for the video. In that case, you can tap on the three dot icon below the video and select the ‘Unmatch’ option to hide the metadata.

Most of the playback controls will be available when playing a local file, like pausing, skipping or stopping the tracks. The update (v6.0) is rolling out to Android phones and tablets and can be downloaded via Google Play, and will come soon to the Amazon App Store.

Foodpanda Will Now Deliver All Orders For Partner Restaurants, Regardless of the Source

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Foodpanda announces Dash, a logistics service for restaurants
  • After a three-month pilot, Dash is going live now in 7 cities
  • It will deliver orders originating from any source, not just Foodpanda

Online food ordering and delivery firm Foodpanda on Thursday said it will provide third-party logistics services to its restaurant base across major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Gurgaon. Foodpanda has already been delivering its orders from some partner restaurants for two years now – accounting for nearly half the orders it receives. As part of the new development, restaurants can use Foodpanda delivery services even for the orders which have not come through the Foodpanda channel.

According to the company, this expansion of the delivery ecosystem by Foodpanda is aimed at optimising efficiency of existing on-ground fleet, which was initially used only for orders placed through the brand.

The deliveries were first started as a pilot three months ago, and the initiative is now live across Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, Foodpanda said in a statement. This includes a fully integrated offering, where orders come via Foodpanda, and are delivered, as well as delivery on a need basis. restaurants will be charged per order, the company added.

Foodpanda on-boarded more than 500 partner restaurants and the number is expected to reach around 1,500 in the next three months, the company said.

Foodpanda Will Now Deliver All Orders For Partner Restaurants, Regardless of the Source

“With our new delivery product offering, we intend to be significant support system for our partners by easing hassle of delivery for them and extend best-in-class service levels to more customers,” said Foodpanda India CEO Saurabh Kochhar.

“The new business partnerships with the restaurants are aimed to provide better services and to further expand our delivery network across the country,” added Kunal Suri, COO Foodpanda India. “We are currently able to deliver orders within 35 mins on average, which we further plan to improve on. With Dash we plan to extend this benefit to our restaurant partners thereby strengthening the delivery ecosystem across the nation.”

Written with inputs from PTI

Google Sheets Can Now Make Charts on Request Using Machine Learning

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The updates are already available on Android and iOS
  • Explore feature was added to the app last year
  • Update adds support for spreadsheet shortcuts to the Web version

Google Sheets is already a useful productivity tool but the search giant has now updated it to add some more machine learning features. While users could already ask questions from Sheets to get data-related responses using Explore feature, machine learning now allows the app to create charts demanded by the users.

With the latest update, if users cannot see a chart that they need for their project or presentation, they can simply ask the app to create it for them. “Instead of manually building charts, ask Explore to do it by typing in ‘histogram of 2017 customer ratings’ or ‘bar chart for ice cream sales’. Less time spent building charts means more time acting on new insights,” the search giant said in its blog post.

google sheet story2 Google Sheets Story 2

Notably, users could already ask Google Sheets queries like “what is the distribution of products sold?” or “what are average sales on Sundays?” to get responses from the Explore feature, which was added last year.

Further, the giant has made it easier to keep your tables updated as users can now copy and paste data from Sheets to Docs or Slides and tap the “update” button to sync their data.

Apart from these updates, Google has also added the support for spreadsheet shortcuts to the web version of the app. The latest update is already available on both Android and iOS and can be downloaded through Google Play store or the App Store respectively.

Google Play Now Has an 'Android Excellence' Section With Curated Apps and Games

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The lists in the section will be refreshed quarterly
  • Android Excellence can be found in revamped Editor’s Choice section
  • The section promotes the content that follows Google’s guidelines

Google has introduced a new section in Google Play store called ‘Android Excellence’. This section is meant to promote apps that have great design, performance, or follow the best practices given by the search giant itself. The newly introduced Android Excellence section can be found in the revamped Editor’s Choice section and promotes content and provides recognition to the apps that follow “best practices,” as per the company.

The move comes a week after Apple announced that it’s completely revamping the App Store with iOS 11 to place greater focus on manual curation of apps, with daily updates in the form of lists, developer stories, and more.

“The new collections will showcase apps and games that deliver incredible user experiences on Android, use many of our best practices, and have great design, technical performance, localisation, and device optimisation,” Google said in its blog post.

Google Play Now Has an 'Android Excellence' Section With Curated Apps and Games

Google says that the Android Excellence collections will be refreshed quarterly. Currently, some of the notable mentions in the first round Android Excellence Games include Hitman GO, Pictionary, Riptide GP: Renegade, and Toca Blocks. On the other hand, some of the noteworthy names in Android Excellence Apps include Evernote, Memrise, Pocket, and Skyscanner.

As the lists will be refreshed after a considerable time, it might not be the best place to find great new apps or games but the entries that make this list are likely to get abundance of promotion and exposure. This is likely to prove as a great incentive for app developers to follow the guidelines provided by Google for Android apps.

Facebook Rainbow Reaction Is Here and This Is How You Can Get It Now

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook has added the Rainbow reaction to support LGBTQ Pride
  • There are also Pride-themed masks and frames
  • Pride-themed features on Facebook will till June-end

Facebook has launched a new Rainbow emoji reaction, among several other features, in honour of the LGBTQ Pride Month — celebrated every year in June — and show support to the community and the cause. The Facebook Rainbow reaction is accompanied by a Rainbow Frame for profile pictures, Pride-themed masks and frames in Facebook Camera, and even the option to start fundraisers for the community on the platform. The new features will be available throughout the month of June.

How to get the new Facebook Rainbow Reaction

To get the new LGBTQ Rainbow Reaction and the other Prime-themed features, you need to ‘like’ the LGBT@Facebook official group. Once you like the page, you will soon see the Rainbow emoji reaction when you long-press on the like button on a post, photo, link, video, etc. Similar is the process to get the new The new features are available only in the US for now, and some even in the US complain of not getting the new features despite liking the page.

Facebook Rainbow Reaction Is Here and This Is How You Can Get It Now

Apart from the Pride-themed features on Facebook, there are some LGBTQ-supporting features on Instagram and Messenger as well. On Instagram, walls in major US cities will be turned into colourful beacons of LGBTQ support, where you can leave supportive comments on your posts. You can also celebrate Pride and be creative with stickers and a rainbow brush. Similarly, Messenger users can use Pride-themed stickers, frames, and effects in the Messenger Camera.

In a statement, Facebook said, “As Pride celebrations begin around the world, Facebook is proud to support our diverse community, including those that have identified themselves on Facebook as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender or gender non-conforming. It added over 12 million people across the globe are part of one of the 76,000 Facebook Groups in support of the LGBTQ community.  The social networking giant noted that more than 1.5 million people plan to participate in one of the more than 7,500 Pride events on Facebook this year.

China Has Now Eclipsed US in AI Research

Humanity may still be years if not decades away from producing sentient artificial intelligence. But with the rise of machine-learning services in our smartphones and other devices, one type of narrow, specialized AI has become all the rage. And the research on this branch of AI is only accelerating.

In fact, as more industries and policymakers awaken to the benefits of machine learning, two countries appear to be pulling away in the research race. The results will likely have significant implications for the future of AI.

If you’re not familiar with the term, “deep learning” is a subset of the overall branch of AI known as machine learning – which basically involves the use of computer algorithms to perform pattern recognition and analysis. It’s this type of AI that powers personal digital assistants like Google Now, for example.

The Obama administration has a new strategic plan aimed at spurring US development of artificial intelligence. What’s striking is that while the United States was an early leader on deep learning research, China has effectively eclipsed it in terms of the number of papers published annually on the subject. The rate of increase is remarkably steep, reflecting how China’s research priorities have pivoted on a dime.

 

China Has Now Eclipsed US in AI Research

The quality of China’s research is also striking.

 

Compared to other countries, the United States and China are both spending tremendous research attention on deep learning. But, according to the White House, the United States isn’t investing nearly enough in the basic research.

“Current levels of R&D spending are half to one-quarter of the level of R&D investment that would produce the optimal level of economic growth,” a companion report published this week by the Obama administration finds.

The government is pushing for a major role for itself in AI research, and here’s why: Becoming a leader in artificial-intelligence R&D puts the United States in a better position to establish global norms on how AI should be safely used. When AI stands to transform everything from labor to the environment to the future of warfare and cyberconflict, the United States could be put at a disadvantage if other countries, such as China, get to dictate terms instead.

Google Play Now Has an 'Android Excellence' Section With Curated Apps and Games

HIGHLIGHTS
The lists in the section will be refreshed quarterly
Android Excellence can be found in revamped Editor’s Choice section
The section promotes the content that follows Google’s guidelines
Google has introduced a new section in Google Play store called ‘Android Excellence’. This section is meant to promote apps that have great design, performance, or follow the best practices given by the search giant itself. The newly introduced Android Excellence section can be found in the revamped Editor’s Choice section and promotes content and provides recognition to the apps that follow “best practices,” as per the company.

The move comes a week after Apple announced that it’s completely revamping the App Store with iOS 11 to place greater focus on manual curation of apps, with daily updates in the form of lists, developer stories, and more.

“The new collections will showcase apps and games that deliver incredible user experiences on Android, use many of our best practices, and have great design, technical performance, localisation, and device optimisation,” Google said in its blog post.

Google Play Now Has an 'Android Excellence' Section With Curated Apps and Games

Google says that the Android Excellence collections will be refreshed quarterly. Currently, some of the notable mentions in the first round Android Excellence Games include Hitman GO, Pictionary, Riptide GP: Renegade, and Toca Blocks. On the other hand, some of the noteworthy names in Android Excellence Apps include Evernote, Memrise, Pocket, and Skyscanner.

As the lists will be refreshed after a considerable time, it might not be the best place to find great new apps or games but the entries that make this list are likely to get abundance of promotion and exposure. This is likely to prove as a great incentive for app developers to follow the guidelines provided by Google for Android apps.

Windows Mixed Reality Development Kits Now Available for Pre-Orders; Microsoft Unveils Motion Controllers

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Microsoft earlier said it will ship development kits in March
  • The new VR controllers will not work with HoloLens
  • The new controllers don’t require any external sensors

In March this year, Microsoft announced that the company will start shipping development kits for Windows Mixed Reality (earlier called Windows Holographic) later in the month itself. However, the company seemed to have changed its mind later as it didn’t happen. Now the Redmond-based company has finally started taking pre-orders for the mixed reality development kits from HP and Acer. Microsoft also announced its own motion controllers for Windows 10 VR at its Build conference.

Windows Mixed Reality Development Kits Now Available for Pre-Orders; Microsoft Unveils Motion Controllers

Notably, Microsoft has still not announced the release dates for these development kits but interested users can now pre-order the development kits from the company’s website. While the Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition has been priced at $299 (roughly Rs. 19,200), the HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition is available for pre-orders at $329 (roughly Rs. 21,200). The option for pre-orders is currently available for users in the US and Canada.

Both HP and Acer’s Windows Mixed Reality headsets come with some common features including two high-resolution liquid crystal displays with a 1440×1440 pixels resolution, front hinged displays, 95-degree horizontal field-of-view, display refresh rate up to 90Hz (native), built-in audio out and microphone support through 3.5mm jack, single cable with HDMI 2.0 (display) and USB 3.0 (data) for connectivity, and inside-out tracking. Additionally, the HP headset comes with double-padded headband and easy adjustment knob, as per Microsoft.

Microsoft has further provided the list of recommended system specifications for developers on its blog. Needless to say, you will need a powerful configuration to support the mixed reality development kit from the company.

microsoft vr controller story Microsoft VR Motion Controllers

Moving to the motion controllers for Windows 10 VR, Microsoft says “a customer who pairs a Windows Mixed Reality headset with motion controllers will have a rich and immersive experience across creativity tools, productivity, games, and entertainment.”

Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers don’t require any external sensors and offer “precise and responsive” movement tracking, as per company’s claims. The company says that it plans to market and sell these controllers on retail shelves this holiday. The company has confirmed that these controllers will not work with HoloLens headset, as per a report by CNET.

Microsoft announced that Acer will sell its Windows Mixed Reality headset and motion controller bundle priced at $399 (roughly Rs. 25,700) this holiday season.